Tips and Tidbits, part of Brainstorms and Raves

Notes on Web Design, Development, Standards, Typography, Music, and More

*Tips & Tidbits,'s daily column, merged with Brainstorms & Raves August 1, 2001. Tips & Tidbits Archives are available for December, 2000 through August, 2001.





Tips and Tidbits Moving Day

Effective August 1, 2001, Tips and Tidbits has joined forces with Brainstorms and Raves, both by Shirley Kaiser, editor of They are now integrated as one combined weblog, column, to provide all the best in one location.

I hope you’ll enjoy the new home at!

05:18 pm, pdt 1 August, 2001

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Categories: Colophon, Weblogs, News





Tips and Tidbits Joining Forces With Brainstorms and Raves

Coming the first week of August, Tips and Tidbits will be merging with Brainstorms and Raves to bring the best of everything to one convenient site. Both are written regularly by Shirley Kaiser, editor and owner of

You’ll still find all the same reviews, press releases, tips and tidbits offered here in addition to the great content at Brainstorms and Raves on design and development, the Web, typography, software, the latest tutorials, books, publications, and much more.

Both of these weblogs have been steadily increasing in popularity since their inception December, 2000. By combining them it is hoped to increase the popularity even further.

The new site is currently being finished and tested, and the new URL will be posted here as soon as it’s open sometime during the first week of August.

07:04 am, pdt25 July, 2001

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Categories: Colophon, Weblogs, News





More Tiny Keyboards For Your Handheld

PDA and the EtherAge keyboard side by side for comparisonEtherAge is coming out with its first product later this year, the ClipKee, a small QWERTY keyboard that fits right onto your handheld device. The idea is to type into it with your two thumbs. There are extra buttons to quickly access common applications like your Contact List, To Do list, and others. Will it be easy and fast to use? We’ll soon find out. PDA with ClipKee attachedThis is one time when being all thumbs will be a valuable asset, it seems.

EtherAge will have at least 2 versions available beginning around US$40. They are working on a version that will also include wireless Internet access (price not yet available). This a new company is promising innovative accessories for handheld devices. (Palm, Visor, Windows CE). They’re off to an interesting start with the ClipKee, that’s for sure.

If you also need a full-size portable keyboard for your handheld, I’ve been quite pleased with the Targus Stowaway keyboard for my Handspring Visor. (It’s also available for other handhelds.) It folds up to be just a little larger than the very small Visor, they both easily fit into my briefcase or even my small purse, and off I go. Targus also now has a PDA/Stowaway case available to hold both your handheld and your keyboard.

When I’m ready to use the full-size keyboard I unfold it and click the Visor into a slot on the keyboard. No extra batteries are needed, and I can type a Word document, email, a memo, notes to myself, or whatever I wish, just as I would on my main computer. It’s especially enjoyable when it’s nice outside, as I can sit out on my patio and type away, taking in the beautiful weather.

Once back at my computer, I put the Visor into its cradle and press the Synchronize button. Instantly all that I typed on my Visor is now in my computer. It’s really that easy. These tools quickly became a necessary part of my business day as soon as I got them. (I have no affiliation with Handspring or Targus—just a happy customer.)

03:25 pm, pdt19 July, 2001

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Categories: Reviews, Technology





Monica Lewinsky font?!

[monica lewinsky handwriting font by andy crewdson, lines and splines]I don’t know about you, but I was never more relieved when the Monica Lewinsky scandal finally quieted down and no longer made the front pages everywhere. Reading through archives at Lines & Splines, though, her name came up again, but this time in a very different way.

Lines & Splines' writer Andy Crewdson, using handwriting samples of notes from court documents, created a font from Monica Lewinsky’s own handwriting. Since I have great respect for Lines & Splines and admittedly some curiosity, I downloaded his free font creation to have a look for myself.

One of the dilemmas with many handwriting fonts I’ve played with is that the lines (handwriting strokes) are too thin to use on the Web. This one, however, works just fine, as you can see in the sample to the right. I found it to be a highly readable font at a variety of sizes as I experimented in Adobe Photoshop. This handwriting font is available for both PC and Mac, too, directly from the Lines & Splines archive.

Also visit’s Font section packed with annotated resources to the top font sites around the Web—freeware, shareware, font foundries, tools, programs, organizations, and more.

07:49 pm, pdt15 July, 2001

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Categories: Graphics, Reviews, Typography





Dreamweaver, GoLive, FrontPage vs. Standards

WaSP has been putting the pressure on Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe GoLive, and Microsoft FrontPage to adhere to web standards. Read what it’s about at Wednesday’s Brainstorms & Raves.

11:01 pm, pdt11 July, 2001

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Categories: Design, Development, Software, Standards





Helping Users Find Physical Locations

Helping Users Find Physical Locations is the subject of Jakob Nielsen’s July 8th article. Do you have a map at your site or for your clients' sites? Have you done any usability testing to find out how easy it is for users to find the map, and then once they find it, if they can follow the instructions easily enough?

Nielsen’s article relays positively that 63% is their highest percentage of usability measuring they’ve found to date. The flip side, though, is that there are still 37% who did NOT find the map. So how can you ensure the best usability for your users? Check out Nielsen’s article and see if you agree.

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I Wrote a Book

Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists  Via Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006). 

Available now via: SitePoint Books,, (Canada), (UK), (France), (Germany), (Japan), Tower Books U.S. and elsewhere! You'll also help support this site and its owner if you purchase via any of these links.

Learn more at SKDesigns - Deliver First Class Web Sites and via SitePoint Books.

Recommended Books

Cover - Web Design in a Nutshell : A Desktop Quick Reference, 3rd Ed. By Jennifer Niederst Robbins. Pub: OReilly Media (February 21, 2006).

Cover - Deliver First Class Web Sites: 101 Essential Checklists, by Shirley Kaiser. SitePoint Books (July 2006).

Hand-picked best book recommendations for Web site design, CSS, graphics, Photoshop, color, accessibility, more

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